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Health officials: The Ebola outbreak in Guinea is unprecedented

Kjell Gunnar Beraas/MSF

An Ebola virus outbreak that has killed 78 people in Guinea is remarkable for a few reasons: the disease isn't primarily in one location, but rather spread across the country; it is the first time it's been detected in Guinea; and experts have no clue how it got there. "We will manage to contain this outbreak in a short amount of time, but it's difficult to say [how long] at the moment," Esther Sterk, a tropical medicine adviser for Doctors Without Borders, said in an interview with NPR.

Ebola is transmitted by close contact via bodily fluids (many become sick after caring for someone who already has it), and is thought to hide in certain types of bats. "In the areas where Ebola has occurred, the people eat bush meat — sometimes bats, monkeys... that is a way the virus may be introduced into the population," Sterk said. "So, the message in Guinea is: Don't eat bats; don't eat monkeys; don't touch sick or dead animals."